Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Commentary I'm Really Excited About

A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 2 (42–89). By Allen P. Ross. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications. pp. 848. 2013. ($44.99 List Price, but you can find it cheaper)

This is the second of three planned commentaries from Allen P. Ross on the book of Psalms in a new commentary series from Kregel. Ross has been a seminary professor for decades and teaches biblical Hebrew and other courses on the Old Testament. He’s also written an introduction to biblical Hebrew and expositions of Genesis and Leviticus, so he has the linguistic and academic background necessary for this kind of work.

Because the Psalms have played a very important role in the religious life of believers since biblical times, a commentary should not merely be an academic exercise in Hebrew syntax and grammar, but a devotional and expositional journey through each “psalm, hymn, and spiritual song” in the Psalter. Ross has produced just such a commentary and has blessed us with an accessible work that is faithful to the biblical text and enlightening to the reader. I anticipate that this volume will bear dividends on an individual’s spiritual growth for a long time to come.

There are no introductory materials since the first volume already explored the structure of Psalms as a whole and the various types of Psalms contained in the book. Since few people would only pick up one volume in a multi-volume commentary on one book of the Bible, I assume that those who go out and buy Volume 2 will already have Volume 1 on their shelves.

Jumping into the Psalms themselves, Ross considers each Psalm as an individual unit. He includes exegetical and expository outlines, which help readers explore each Psalm’s message and arrive at legitimate, personal application. The way he works through the Psalms is faithful to the text of Scripture and useful for preaching, teaching, study, and personal devotions as well.

Pastors and church members stand to benefit most from this commentary. Together, his two volumes thus far amount to over 1,700 pages, which may seem like a bit much to those who haven’t made much use of commentaries or to those who have only used single-volume commentaries, but I assure you that there is nothing extraneous or dull. Although Ross does introduce and analyze Hebrew words where appropriate, he is cognizant that the average reader likely doesn’t have much if any experience in the biblical Hebrew and thus reserves his more extensive discussion of linguistic features for the footnotes for those who are interested in such things. He leaves the main body of his work for those of us with little or no knowledge of the language or the broader academic discussions going on.

If you desire to understand the Psalms for yourself and be equipped to faithfully teach them, I can’t recommend a more accessible or thorough commentary.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of review.